“I have not been able to title any village” – Min. Allicock
Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs Sydney Allicock has admitted that in three years his Ministry has not issued any titles to Amerindian Communities.
This revelation by the Minister to a parliamentary committee Wednesday morning caused opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) to question what progress has really been made under the APNU+AFC coalition with regards to land titling.
Since its inception in 2013, only 26% of the total Amerindian Land Titling Project has been completed, Minister Allicock disclosed.
This prompted Opposition Members Pauline Sukhai and Yvonne Pearson to criticize the Ministry for not continuing on the progress made under the PPP administration in issuing land titles.
Speaking to reporters, Minister Allicock expressed, “I have not been able to title any village because we wanna do things that are truly reflected in the Free Prior and Informed (FPIC) process.”
The FPIC is a mechanism that safeguards the individual and collective rights of indigenous and tribal peoples, including their land and resource rights and their right to self-determination.
The Amerindian Land Titling Project was slated to end in 2016 but since the Ministry made no progress, they were granted an extension of two years.
However, little progress has been made since then and the new deadline is now October 2018.
Minister Allicock said he will be making a request for another extension by writing to the Ministry of the Presidency which will then communicate with representatives in Norway.
The project is being financed from the Guyana Redd+ Investment Fund (GRIF) under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). Up to US$10.7M was available for this project but to date, only a little over US$2M was expended.
The Minister said there are a lot of issues ranging from incorrect demarcation to political issues affecting the progress. Other issues, he said, include lack of manpower and equipment.
Minister Allicock is nonetheless hoping that four titled communities will be demarcated before the October 2018 deadline.